Biologists with the Wildlife Research section monitor the status of Florida’s birds, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. This includes species important to hunters such as deer, alligator and waterfowl, and imperiled species such as the Florida panther and the Florida manatee. Wildlife managers rely on the information this research provides to develop conservation and restoration plans that ensure the long-term sustainability or survival of Florida’s wildlife populations.
Areas of Research
Florida is home to 142 native reptile and amphibian species. Staff within the Reptiles and Amphibians group design and conduct research and monitoring projects, collaborate with other state, federal and university personnel, and publish their work in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
There are 196 species of breeding birds in Florida. Researchers provide data on the life history, population biology and ecology of Florida’s bird species to aid managers in developing conservation plans and to assist recovery efforts.
Florida is home to an estimated 20,000+ species of invertebrates – more than all of Florida’s birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish combined. FWRI staff collaborate with other agencies and university personnel to conduct research, monitoring, and status assessments to inform invertebrate conservation efforts and promote biodiversity.
Researchers focus on key topics, from population assessment to behavioral ecology, to inform and help guide manatee and right whale conservation and recovery planning. The program coordinates statewide manatee rescues and participates in marine mammal stranding networks. Terrestrial mammals spend all or part of their lives on land. In Florida, this group includes nearly 80 species or subspecies ranging from bats and mice to deer and bears.
Florida is an important place for several endangered and threatened sea turtle species. FWRI staff are dedicated to protecting sea turtles in Florida and learning as much as possible about the biology and life history of these elusive animals.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) veterinary staff and wildlife biologists work with state and federal partners to monitor for and respond to many wildlife disease outbreaks, such as avian influenza, swine influenza, mange in bears, chronic wasting disease in deer, and die-offs of other terrestrial wildlife.